Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Modernist InformaticsLiterature, Information, and the State$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

James Purdon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190211691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190211691.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 April 2020

Information Collectives

Information Collectives

(p.89) 3. Information Collectives
Modernist Informatics

James Purdon

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 deals with the Mass-Observation movement founded in 1937 by the anthropologist Tom Harrisson, the poet Charles Madge, and the filmmaker Humphrey Jennings. It seeks to understand the paranoia and insecurity arising when, instead of generating networks of difference amenable to disinterested enquiry into the nature of the modern state, information networks are co-opted by government power in order to define and produce a unified conception of national identity. Investigating both the Mass-Observation movement itself and its representation in writing by G. W. Stonier, John Sommerfield, and others, this chapter considers the relationship between paranoia, information, and security during the Second World War, and elaborates the connection between Mass-Observation and the wider documentary movement of the 1930s, identifying pathologies of state paranoia in the cultural production of Great Britain between the wars, when the country was engaged in an extended project of introspection and self-analysis.

Keywords:   Mass-Observation, paranoia, Second World War, G. W. Stonier, John Sommerfield

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .